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future innovations

Collection of yellow spheres.

Ionic liquid chemistry

solvents that hold the key to green chemistry

Ionic liquids – fluid salts – date back more than a century, but it was not until the 1990s that these "super-solvents" revealed their potential for n...

Circuit board with various components.

Raspberry Pi

the cheap computer set to revolutionise programming

The Raspberry Pi was born in response to fears about a decline in computer literacy. In 2006, Eben Upton and his colleagues at the University o...

Drops of liquid in a petri dish.

Organ printer

3D printing with embryonic stem cells

A novel 3D printing technique has been used to arrange human embryonic stem cells, the parent cells of the 200 or more cell types i...

Black-and-white image showing highly magnified slivers of material.


the thinnest material known, with a range of attractive properties

Drawing a line with a pencil produces many stacked sheets of graphene. Andre Geim (born 1958) and Konstantin Novoselov (born 197...

Peter Higgs stands in front of a huge machine which fills a large chamber.

Discovery of the Higgs boson

opening the door to new physics

On 4 July 2012, physicists at CERN announced the discovery of a particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson. The partic...

Diagram of the inside on the eye.

Eye Gene Therapy

new hope for the blind

Thousands of people with failing eyesight have been given fresh hope of a treatment after gene therapy techniques have been successfully used. ...

Four examples of the prosthetic hand.


a versatile, powered prosthetic hand

The Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh had been developing prosthetics for children affected by thalidomide since the 1960s. David Go...

Model of spaceplane.

SABRE Engine

air-breathing rocket engine

Developed by Alan Bond, Richard Varvill and John Scott-Scott of Reaction Engines over the last two decades, the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket...

A diagram showing white lines around a coloured sphere, indicating the path of light.


a new generation of materials with extraordinary properties

Metamaterials are artificially produced materials with properties not necessarily found in nature. They are composed of metals or plastics un...

Different coloured glass jars stand in a row. They are each labelled 'Nanoco'

Quantum Dot

semiconductors with extraordinary properties and many potential uses

Quantum dots are tiny particles of a semiconductor material (usually based on cadmium or zinc) ranging from 2 to 10 nanometres...

An orange-coloured rocky landscape.

Huygens spacecraft

first probe to land in the outer Solar System

After a seven-year journey from Earth, on 14 January 2005 the Huygens spacecraft touched the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

The Ca...

Lines of copper printed on a roll of transparent plastic.

Plastic electronics technology

for gadgets that are flexible, disposable and printable

Plastic electronics (also known as printed or organic electronics) is a technology that is predicted to change the way electronics are develope...